The Last World War I Combatant Has Died

British sailor watched German fleet surrender in 1918

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Of the 70 million people who fought in the four-year global conflict that was the First World War, the last man has died. British sailor Claude Choules, who joined the British Navy in 1916 and watched the surrender of the German fleet in 1918, died in his sleep today in Perth, on the west coast of Australia. He was 110. The only other known surviving war participant is Florence Green, also 110, who served a non-combat role in the Royal Air Force.

Choules served on the HMS Revenge during the war, then emigrated to Australia in 1926 and joined the navy there. He became a demolition expert -- chief of demolition for the western continent -- and was responsible for disposing of the first mine (a German one) to wash up on an Australian beach in World War II. He rigged oil tanks, ships, and other facilities in Australia for demolition in case of a Japanese invasion.

The last-known American WWI combatant, ambulance driver Frank Woodruff Buckles, died in February at age 110.

Photo by Reuters

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.